Sore and tired eyes from too much screen time? Needing to wear glasses to read now that you’ve been eyeing that screen on and off for the last few years? Sure signs that the eyes need some yoga. There is mounting evidence that strengthening and relaxing the eye muscles may help to improve our vision.
When we want to focus on an object, small muscles around the pupil either contract or release depending on the distance of the object from us. This is similar to the lens of a camera which needs to be adjusted to bring and object into focus. When we stare at the screen without remittance these muscles don’t move, and so blood flow to and from our eyes gets limited and the muscles not only get tired and strained but gradually lose the ability to adjust and focus at different distances.
The first step to improving our vision is simply relaxation. Just as an athlete or body builder needs to give his muscles a rest for recovery, similarly our eyes also need a rest. Relaxing the eyes gives the nerves supplying the eyes a break, and also rests the visual cortex on the brain. It helps tired, strained eyes recuperate and, as some experiments show, may even improve our vision.
People who experience ongoing stress and anxiety may also benefit from relaxing the eyes. Those who are stressed often experience eye pain or discomfort, light sensitivity and blurry vision. These symptoms can be caused either by the pupils staying in a dilated position and/or the facial muscles tightening. Dilation of the pupils is part of the body’s response to help us see better to cope with a stressful situation, but this prolonged dilation can cause light sensitivity and eye aches. The tightening of our facial muscles and constriction of our blood vessels may cause further eye pain, aches and even blurred vision.
Eye exercises which invite the eyes to be more actively mobile strengthen the external muscles while exercises in which the eyes must change focus exercises the deeper muscles. Vision is such an important sense so if you would like to try some eye yoga please visit here for more information.
By Vrndavan Dasi
Founder and Principal of Veda Yoga Teacher Training